2nd May Spinney

Very interesting and informative, good to remember.
I particularly enjoy the singing from the Cragside Children – some the same age as the boys that died in the disaster. Greg Stone.
The Police really enjoyed the day. The Park Rangers may enjoy being involved. I’m with them tonight. PC 3116 TAPPING
Thanks to all who took part. Great music and a real community event. Good to remember – and look to the future with hope. Mark Bagott
Thank you for a very informative and evocative commemoraton if mining and miner’s lives. See you next year.


2nd May Concert, St Teresa’s Hall

 Tessa: What a fantastic night!

Mary Crane: A brilliant night and the songs written by Johnny and Richard will stay with me.

3rd May

A very enjoyable and informative evening with a good mix of dialogue, music, singing and  dancing. Thanks to all involved
It was a very interesting service and good to find out more about the mining tragedy. Choir was excellent.
This was a very moving service, you never always know what happens ender your feet, where you live.
The service brought the event to life in the human stories. How right that we should remember these events in the history of our own locality.
The evening was excellent. It was informative, interesting and moving, a really fitting tribute to the 75 who lost their lives.
An interesting and moving service – great singing, wonderful dance and a fascinating insight into the history of Heaton.

Ouseburn Festival

Absolutely wonderful event, well done everyone involved. Kath Wesolowski
A great performance. The final movement was very moving and a triumph of organisation.
Miles Wallis-Clarke

People’s Theatre art Exhibition 24th February 2016

An evocative evening. The true Price of Coal revealed. Coals too Newcastle nor longer applies and coal is mow history as witnessed by the children who have participated.
(Ian Graham, Lord Mayor of Newcastle)
Lovely to see children working with artists and finding creative ways to explore local history and express their responses to it. Donna
Very good standard of work on display with clear involvement and interest of school kids. Important to keep the flame of history burning even if it ain’t too happy… it’s part of who / what we are. Rob Dennison
A wonderful project – and one that will be remembered by all who have starred in it. Congratulations, on bringing together history, art,music an writing to such an important chapter in our history.
I was completely gobsmacked coming into the exhibition at the range and quality of the work. A truly remarkable project. sod important to engage with the place where we live. Thank you for the hard work. Malcolm.
A wonderful gathering together of creativity reflecting a significant and very moving local event. The project has clearly captured, and educated, many people of all ages. a great success!
A fantastic exhibit!! Well done to all concerned. I loved the snowdrop flower arrangements made by the children of Benton Park Primary School and we were lucky enough to win a raffle prize of a snow drop plants with roots to plant in our own garden, fantastic. Again well done to all concerned.
Margaret Graham, Lady Mayoress.
Congratulations to all concerned in the wonderful display of work. Adults and children are to be commended for all their hard work and artistic talents. Well done! Freda Booth.

Ribbon Road 25 Spetember

It was a brilliantly moving occasion! Spike Hale
Great event. Thanks for organising it. So pleased we came. Lovely to discover Jane and her parents had a personal connection with Brenda. Gavin Dudley

Chillingham Road Primary Students

Here are some comments from year 3 and 4 about the assembly that you and Richard did.

Suzi : I found it fascinating, the way it was told and what had happened.

Hannah: They made it exciting because they were explaining things clearly and singing songs. I am keen to know more

Alice: I liked the songs because it was what happened in the olden days put into a song

Troy: One of the men was talking while one was hitting coal

Adam: I thought that some of the people could be ancestors of ours

Eden: I liked how we were shown pictures and they were so detailed, it reminded you what it was like in the past

Tino: I enjoyed the whole thing because I love history

Layla: I do like to learn about this stuff as it is interesting

Daisy: When I heard it was just down the road I found it worrying


Film Night

Fantastic evening at “film night ” under the fields of heaton : fantastic number of people ; great films good event all around X


 A lovely occasion to mark a sad event. Choir, band, piper, lanterns and the community of Heaton. Lovely. Joe Crane
Shine bright Karen Elliott

A beautifully moving commemoration this evening. Thank you all so much. May light perpetual shine upon them. Katie wilson

Considering the ages of some of those that were lost so long ago it was Great to see such sterling support from the young people from Heaton Manor Cadets (Army and Police) in helping to marshall the event. Very well done to all!!! Joe Hedley

And thanks to Mr Ken Paterson, without whom this bringing together of so many diverse groups would not have happened. Michael Ewing

A lovely occasion for the whole community. Well done.
What a beautiful, creative and moving event. The sliver of silver moon shone on the spinney.

Heaton Main Suite at Northern Stage

A great evening, good to be part of it. Thanks to all the organisers.

Thanks Ken. It was an honour and a pleasure to take part. Mike Smith
It’s been a great project.
So pleased and honoured to have been a part of this. The poems and stories the choirs, both adults and children with such beautiful voices the Morris team dancing and the sounds from all the bands and soloists. It was a truly memorable evening of song and dance and remembrance. A very special evening.
Bravo! Didn’t quite get back in time, but glad to know legs were broken all round!
I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it. “A great wall of a capella harmony” Wow!
Great event! It was a privilege to take part. Correction – the effortless trumpet solo was from Robert Henery, one of the rising yound stars of the Chilli Road Band.
 I agree he is really good. Loved it. 
……..and the filmatography was also stunning
Congratulations to the creative team for Under The Fields of Heaton. You’ve created a modern masterpiece between you! I was lucky enough to hear the performance last year outside the Cumberland, and now I’m so pleased to have been able to take part. Hopefully it won’t be the last performance, and this “work” will be revived in future years…you’ve done Heaton proud! Gavin Dudley
I hope that whoever commemorates the 300 year anniversary will be able to access the recordings from Saturday (in some fancy futuristic way) and know of the talent, hard work and dedication that went into this & other events! Unexpected highlight for me was some daft dancing around to the brilliant Tenth Avenue Band with Bridget, Marion, Ian and others. Tx

Under the Fields of Heaton

It’s odd to say that I’ve had a lovely weekend commemorating a disaster, but there you go…  The concert on Saturday night was a sell out with people packed into St Teresa’s Church Hall to hear Johnny Handle, Appletwig Songbook and Heaton Voices.  One of the girls had to admit that she loved Johnny’s music but she had absolutely no idea what he was saying in between songs….  Geordie dialect a bit beyond her there!  Another member of the choir posted that she had enjoyed discovering Handle – especially his old album cover:
johnnyhandlecover Johnny’s new track to commemorate the disaster fits perfectly into the folk tradition and will hopefully be a long standing addition.

With my Mining Institute hat on, I sold books in the interval and chatted to people how I hope will come in and see the original maps and images behind the book and the slides.  With my Heaton Voices hat on, I had to try and remember all the lyrics of these new mining songs which we have learnt specially for the Festival!  Things were mostly successful, even for the songs which we only finished learning last week….







Then today there was a service of commemoration at St Teresa’s which was very moving.  It’s a beautiful modern church, full of light.  For me, the most poignant moment was seeing 75 candles brought to the altar because it really highlighted what 75 people actually look like rather than as a number of victims.  It was particularly relevant as the range of ages was reproduced as well with ages from 6 to 80 represented in the procession just as there was in the victims.

All the music in the service had a theme of light, so Heaton Voices sang “May you See Diamonds” and then encouraged the congregation to join us and sing.  People took it well and joined in and smiled!  On the way out, one lovely lady caught me and gave me a hug and said “thank you so much for coming, and for being so enthusiastic! Just full of life – all of you!”  I thought that was a very sweet comment, especially from a stranger!

After the service we were pleasantly surprised with cakes!  There was a huge spread on in the Church Hall so thank you very much to everyone who baked.  Sorry we had to run – the choir were all due at our weekly rehearsal!  Despite the two gigs of the weekend, Richard had us all working hard learning “Waiting” – his piece on the Heaton disaster focusing on the lives of the widows who had to wait months for the bodies to be retrieved.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped make the weekend such a success; from the organisers and performers down to the audience who were so friendly.


Jennifer Hillyard



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